Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday said 50 of the 1,400 people who returned to the state attending the religious congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi have been incommunicado and warned of stern action against them if they do not approach the government.
He urged those people to voluntarily come forward and get in touch with the state government authorities.
The state government will quarantine them and take care of them if they approach the authorities, he said.
Anil Deshmukh said the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in New Delhi last month was attended by nearly 4,000 people.
Several of these attendees later tested positive for coronavirus, while some of them have died of the disease. The congregation was attended by 1,400 people from Maharashtra.
The state government has till now traced and quarantined 1,350 of them, Anil Deshmukh said. "And the remaining 50 who have returned have kept their mobiles (phones) switched off. Hence, we urge them to voluntarily approach the government," he told a news channel.
The government will quarantine and take care of these people to ensure the coronavirus does not spread in other parts of the state, the NCP leader said.
"For this, they should surrender before our police and cooperate with the state government. We will trace them and take strict action against them if they do not surrender before us, he warned.
Anil Deshmukh also praised the Maharashtra Police for denying permission to a Nizamuddin-like congregation in the Vasai area of Palghar district last month, saying it contained possible spread of the disease.
He further warned that attacks on policemen, doctors and nurses -- who are at the forefront of containing the spread of the coronavirus -- will not be tolerated.
Anil Deshmukh said police will deal with such individuals in their style if such assaults continued.
"At least 52 cases of policemen and doctors being attacked took place in Maharashtra. We have arrested 172 people in connection with these incidents", he added.